Updated on August 28, 2020

Whether you’re surfing, stand up paddleboarding, or kayaking, the best surf shoes are going to help take your aqua-bound adventure to the next level. Blurring the lines between sneaker and sandal, these surf shoes are bound to keep you sure footed, deliver tons of traction, and promote quick drying.

We’ve combed through the web to deliver you top quality surf shoes from the best manufacturers, each with a specific “best use” in mind. So kick back and read on as we lay it all out for you!

For more of our top surfing gear recommendations, check out the Best Surfing Wetsuits.

 

Quick Answer - The Best Surf Shoes

  1. Astral Loyak
  2. Salomon Tech Amphib 4
  3. Croc’s Swiftwater Mesh
  4. NRS Vibe
  5. Astral Brewer 2.0
  6. Astral Hiyak High-Top
  7. Teva Terra-Float Churn It Up
  8. Chaco Torrent Pro
  9. Aleader Quick Drying Aqua
  10. Doussprt Quick Drying Sports

 

Comparison Table - Best Surf Shoes

PictureNameWeightBest UseHeightAdjustment MechanismPriceRating
Astral LoyakAstral Loyak14.4 oz.Surfing & SUPBelow The AnkleLace Up$$4.8
Salomon Tech Amphib 41 lb. 4.2 oz.Kayaking & SUPBelow The AnkleSingle-Pull Lace / Strap$$4.7
Croc’s Swiftwater Mesh6.1 oz.Kayaking & SUPBelow The AnkleStrap$4.65
NRS Vibe1 lb.Surfing & SUPBelow The AnkleLace Up$$4.6
Astral Brewer 2.0Astral Brewer 2.01 lb. 2.9 oz.Kayaking & SUPBelow The AnkleLace Up$$$4.5
Astral Hiyak High-Top1 lb. 3.3 oz.Surfing & SUPOver The AnkleLace Up / Strap$$$4.45
Teva Terra-Float Churn It Up1 lb. 7 oz.Kayaking & SUPBelow The AnkleSingle-Pull Lace$$4.4
Chaco Torrent Pro1 lb. 6 oz.Surfing, Kayaking & SUPBelow The AnkleSingle-Pull Lace$$$4.3
Aleader Quick Drying AquaN/AKayaking & SUPBelow The AnkleLace Up$3.9
Doussprt Quick Drying SportsN/AKayaking & SUPBelow The AnkleSingle-Pull Lace$3.75
PictureNameWeightBest UseHeightAdjustment MechanismPriceRating
Want to learn more about a technical term? Check out our Features Explained section below.

Need buying advice? Take a look at these Things to Consider.

Reviews - The Best Shoes for Surfing

Astral Loyak


View Women's Version
Specs
  • Best Use: Surfing & SUP
  • Height: Below The Ankle
  • Weight: 14.4 oz.
  • Upper: Canvas
  • Adjustment Mechanism: Lace Up
  • Outsole: Rubber
  • Midsole: Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA)
  • Lining: Air-Mesh
  • Razor-Siping: Yes
Features
  • Low-Profile Design Is Sleek And Athletic
  • Drainage Holes At Toes & Heels Release Excess Water
  • Breathable Canvas Uppers Allow Your Feet To Dry Quickly
Astral Loyak

BEST FOR: BALANCE AND GRIP 

When you’re in need of some serious grip and help balancing while paddling a SUP or shredding waves on a surfboard, then look no further than the Astral Loyak Water Shoes. Their low profile is super slim and ideal for board sports.

The self-draining feature ensures your feet aren’t waterlogged and the “Flex-Grip” outsoles give a feeling of being almost barefoot, letting you feel your board much better than you would with another pair of shoes. 

The canvas uppers are also extremely durable while offering a ventilated design that allows your feet to breathe and dry even quicker!

Salomon Tech Amphib 4


View Women's Version
Specs
  • Best Use: Kayaking & SUP
  • Height: Below The Ankle
  • Weight: 1 lb. 4.2 oz.
  • Upper: Synthetic / Mesh
  • Adjustment Mechanism: Single-Pull Lace / Strap
  • Outsole: Rubber
  • Midsole: EVA
  • Lining: None
  • Razor-Siping: Yes
Features
  • Available In 2 Different Colors
  • Heel Strap Helps You Dial In The Perfect Fit
  • Uppers Are Made From 70% Recycled Plastics

BEST FOR: ECO-CONSCIOUS PADDLERS

Eco-conscious paddlers who prefer rocking sustainably made gear from recycled materials will find a great fit with Salomon’s Tech Amphib 4 Water Shoes. 

The uppers on these shoes are made from 70% recycled PET (water bottle plastics) and the lining is made from coffee beans! Best suited to recreational kayaking and SUPing, the Tech Amphib 4’s are a quality investment that feature super cushion-y midsoles for all day comfort. 

The outsoles also sport a high-traction rubber grip, lending itself to performing well both on a wet SUP or while traversing slick rocks in a riverbed.

Croc’s Swiftwater Mesh


View Women's Version
Specs
  • Best Use: Kayaking & SUP
  • Height: Below The Ankle
  • Weight: 6.1 oz.
  • Upper: Mesh
  • Adjustment Mechanism: Strap
  • Outsole: Synthetic
  • Midsole: Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA)
  • Lining: None
  • Razor-Siping: No
Features
  • Available In 5 Different Color Combinations
  • Super Comfy Design Keeps You On Your Feet All Day Long
  • Flex Grooves On The Sole Provide Outstanding Traction

BEST FOR: ULTRA-LIGHTWEIGHT DESIGN

I know what you may be thinking… “Can I get a matching pair of Croc gloves?” Yes they exist. No you cannot buy them. For now, you’ll just have to enjoy the ultra-lightweight design of the Croc Swiftwater Mesh Sandals. 

At just 6.1 oz. for the whole pair, you’ll be feeling lighter than that burger you ate for lunch! They feature mesh uppers that allow your feet to breathe even better than OG Crocs and sport a strap across the top of the foot that helps you secure the best fit. 

Kayaking and SUPing in these Crocs takes your paddling game to a whole new level as they deliver outstanding grip even on super slick surfaces.

NRS Vibe


View Women's Version
Specs
  • Best Use: Surfing & SUP
  • Height: Below The Ankle
  • Weight: 1 lb.
  • Upper: Nylon
  • Adjustment Mechanism: Lace Up
  • Outsole: Rubber
  • Midsole: Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA)
  • Lining: None
  • Razor-Siping: No
Features
  • Barefoot Comfort Eliminates The Need For Socks
  • Water-Wicking Design Promotes Quick Drying Time
  • Protects Toes And Feet While Keeping Them Well Ventilated

BEST FOR: WEARING ANYWHERE

Are you the adventurous water-type that likes to shred some waves before going out in the evening? Don’t have time to switch into another pair of shoes? Then you will for sure vibe with the NRS Vibe Water Shoes. 

The ideal companion for keeping your feet under you while surfing and SUPing (and look good doing it!), these surf shoes provide a go-anywhere-do-anything mentality with their versatile design. Built to look and feel like regular sneaks, the Vibes are highly breathable and water-wicking. 

Their specially made outsoles also deliver excellent grip whether you’re doing fancy footwork on your board or traversing slick coves.

Astral Brewer 2.0


View Women's Version
Specs
  • Best Use: Kayaking & SUP
  • Height: Below The Ankle
  • Weight: 1 lb. 2.9 oz.
  • Upper: Canvas-Mesh
  • Adjustment Mechanism: Lace Up
  • Outsole: Rubber
  • Midsole: Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA)
  • Lining: None
  • Razor-Siping: Yes
Features
  • Mesh Uppers Promote Ventilation
  • Drainage Holes Help Rid Your Feet Of Excess Water
  • “Balanced Geometric” Design Improves Balance And Agility
Astral Brewer 2.0

BEST FOR: CROSSOVER PERFORMANCE

Adventurous kayakers and SUPers who like to hike to their put-in or simply use a waterway as an access point for a remote hike will love Astral’s Brewer 2.0 Water Shoes. These shoes were designed with crossover performance in mind, meaning you’ll be able to both hike and paddle in these beauties. 

The mesh uppers will keep your feet cool and dry on warm weather hikes while also offering ventilation for quick drying when splashing through puddles or when water washes aboard your paddling vessel. The Brewer 2.0’s also sports a “balanced geometry” that ensures your heels are at the same level as the balls of your feet, giving you improved balance and agility.

Astral Hiyak High-Top

Specs
  • Best Use: Surfing & SUP
  • Height: Over The Ankle
  • Weight: 1 lb. 3.3 oz.
  • Upper: Canvas / Nylon
  • Adjustment Mechanism: Lace Up / Strap
  • Outsole: Rubber
  • Midsole: Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA)
  • Lining: Mesh
  • Razor-Siping: No
Features
  • Great For Cold Water Surfing And Paddling
  • Quilted Air Mesh Dries Out Quickly Overnight
  • Ankle Strap Provides Additional Ankle Stabilization

BEST FOR: ANKLE SUPPORT

Surfers and Paddleboarders who are in need of a little extra ankle support will thoroughly enjoy the Astral Hiyak High-Top Water Shoes. The Over The Ankle design mated with an ankle strap provides unmatched support for big water days. 

Billed as “wetsuits for your feet”, the Hiyak Water Shoes also sport 3mm quilted air mesh that insulates against frigid cold water, yet maintains a lightweight design that doesn’t weigh you down. It does this by trapping air that is warmed with movement but then dries quickly overnight. You can also pair these with a wetsuit and ensure you also keep your ankles warm when chasing waves all year long!

Teva Terra-Float Churn It Up


View Women's Version
Specs
  • Best Use: Kayaking & SUP
  • Height: Below The Ankle
  • Weight: 1 lb. 7 oz.
  • Upper: Nylon
  • Adjustment Mechanism: Single-Pull Lace
  • Outsole: Rubber
  • Midsole: Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA)
  • Lining: None
  • Razor-Siping: Yes
Features
  • Single-Pull Lace Is Easy To Adjust When On The Go
  • Drainage Holes In Midsoles & Outsoles Keep Feet Dry
  • Mesh Uppers Promote Ventilation And Allow Feet To Breathe

BEST FOR: BREATHABLE COMFORT

Warm water paddlers and those looking for a hybrid shoe/sandal crossover will certainly be pleased with the Terra-Float Churn It Up Water Shoes by Teva. Known as a brand that delivers time and again for water-based performance, Teva impresses once again.

The breathability of these water shoes are simply unmatched. Repping mesh uppers that promote ventilation and quick drying paired with midsoles and outsoles that facilitate water drainage, you’ll almost feel as if you’re paddling barefoot! They’re also super light overall and provide excellent support for long, adventurous days. 

Note: These shoes run narrower than normal, so you may need to order a size up.

Chaco Torrent Pro


View Women's Version
Specs
  • Best Use: Surfing, Kayaking & SUP
  • Height: Below The Ankle
  • Weight: 1 lb. 6 oz.
  • Upper: Knitted Polyester
  • Adjustment Mechanism: Single-Pull Lace
  • Outsole: Rubber
  • Midsole: Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA)
  • Lining: None
  • Razor-Siping: Yes
Features
  • Available In 2 Different Color Combos
  • Anti-Microbial Application Reduces Foot Odor
  • Closed Toe Design Delivers Maximal Protection

BEST FOR: MAXIMUM PERFORMANCE

No matter if you’re planning on using these for surfing, kayaking, or SUPing (or all 3!), the Chaco Torrent PRO Water Shoes will deliver amazing performance regardless of the task! 

Co-developed by whitewater kayakers to deliver maximum performance, protection, and drainage, these water shoes are down to take a beating and keep you firmly planted on your board. The rubber soles perform extremely well on wet surfaces thanks to razor siping, a process where small slits are cut into rubber to improve traction on water and ice. 

The soles are also non-marking, meaning you don’t need to worry about scuff marks on your precious surfboard.

Aleader Quick Drying Aqua


View Women's Version
Specs
  • Best Use: Kayaking & SUP
  • Height: Below The Ankle
  • Weight: N/A
  • Upper: Mesh
  • Adjustment Mechanism: Lace Up
  • Outsole: Rubber
  • Midsole: Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA)
  • Lining: None
  • Razor-Siping: No
Features
  • Offered In 16 Different Color Schemes
  • Mesh Uppers Promote Foot Breathability
  • Option Of Either Single-Pull Lace Or Traditional Laces

BEST FOR: MULTIPLE COLOR OPTIONS

It’s not always enough to have gear that gets the job done, you also have to look good while doing it! For the fashion conscious paddlers who want sleek looking water shoes, look no further than ALEADER’s Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes. 

Somewhere between sandal and sneaker, these water shoes offer a fully mesh upper for maximal water drainage while the rubber soles sport major drainage ports. Keeping your feet ventilated with their smart design, you’ll be able to enjoy all day comfort and breathability. 

Be aware though, not all color options have the same design. Some pairs offer a traditional lace up design while others rock a single-pull lacing system, giving you even more options!

Doussprt Quick Drying Sports


View Women's Version
Specs
  • Best Use: Kayaking & SUP
  • Height: Below The Ankle
  • Weight: N/A
  • Upper: Mesh
  • Adjustment Mechanism: Single-Pull Lace
  • Outsole: Rubber
  • Midsole: Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA)
  • Lining: None
  • Razor-Siping: No
Features
  • Come In 12 Different Color Schemes
  • Self-Draining Soles Keep Feet Dry All Day
  • Single-Pull Lace Helps You Dial In The Right Fit

BEST FOR: BUDGET-CONSCIOUS PADDLERS

Looking for a quality pair of water shoes while also keeping costs down? We’ve got you covered with the DOUSSPRT Quick Drying Sports Water Shoes! 

Best suited for kayaking and SUPing, these budget friendly water shoes have mesh uppers that let your feet breathe and dry quickly. The single-pull laces also offer quick on/off access when you’re on the go. Possibly the best part about these shoes is how stylish they are too, lending them to being worn all summer long or casually at a resort – no need to change shoes for next paddling adventure.

 

 

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING SURF SHOES

 

UPPER

The part of a shoe that covers your foot is referred to as the “upper.” Some of the most common upper materials found on water shoes are synthetic (either nylon, polyester, or canvas) and dry very quickly. Another option is mesh (also synthetic) but allows the most breathability and water drainage. However, they are considered less durable than other synthetics. 

 

LINING

Some water shoes have linings that offer warmth via an insulating effect while others opt for a more lightweight and breathable design. Shoes with linings are a great option for cold weather/water but take much longer to dry out than shoes without linings. 

 

MIDSOLE

The midsole of a shoe is the middle layer of a shoe’s base. From top to bottom, the entire sole of the shoe consists of insole → midsole → outsole. The topsole is where your foot rests and the outsole is the rubber that touches the ground. 

The most commonly used midsole in water shoes is Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA). The benefits of EVA are that it’s lightweight, cushiony, and very comfortable with virtually no break-in period. However, EVA doesn’t last as long as some other materials and should only be expected to last between 3 – 6 months. 

 

RAZOR-SIPING

Razor-Siping is the process of making micro cuts in rubber soles so that they grip slick surfaces (like ice and water) better. While this isn’t the only way to increase the traction of rubber soles, it’s certainly a desirable feature to have.

 

FIT

It’s always best to double check the manufacturer’s sizing chart before buying shoes, as not all companies use the same sizing system. Some shoes fit narrower than other brands (like Nike) while others adhere to a unisex sizing that may be different from what you’re used to. 

 

 

FEATURES EXPLAINED

 

OUTSOLE

“Where the rubber meets the road.” The outsole is the bottommost portion of the shoe that makes contact with the ground. 

 

EVA 

Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate, also known as EVA, is a synthetic material that provides high amounts of cushioning and shock absorption.  

READ MORE

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